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Jail death charge on police

Calcutta, Oct. 2: The one-man committee probing the death of an undertrial in the Asansol special jail in the early hours of September 27 has indicted the police for the injuries inflicted on the deceased and given a clean chit to the jail staff.

Prisoners went on the rampage inside the jail when Ananda Bauri, 25, died in the jail hospital a day after he was admitted. Aggrieved inmates also gheraoed jail superintendent Ranjit Mondal for several hours, refusing to release the body until a high-level probe was ordered into the death. Bauri had been arrested in connection with a dacoity.

“Several prisoners in course of a four-day marathon interview revealed that Bauri was beaten up in custody by policemen before he was lodged in the jail in the afternoon of September 26,” said deputy inspector general (DIG) of prisons Dipak Chowdhury.

On his return to Calcutta this morning, Chowdhury said he had rushed to the Asansol jail hours after the death was reported to the prison directorate. “I stayed there for four days to interact with all 370 inmates to ascertain whether Bauri was beaten up by the jail staff. But there was no evidence of torture on Bauri inside the jail hospital,” he said. “A majority of them confided in me that the deceased was beaten up by the police after his arrest.”

Chowdhury said he would submit the report to the minister for jails and social welfare, Biswanath Chowdhury, at Writers’ Buildings tomorrow.

Investigation shows that Bauri developed severe pain minutes after he was brought to the jail from police custody on September 26 afternoon. Policemen had taken Bauri to the primary health centre at Barakar before bringing him to the jail. After fighting for life the whole night, Bauri succumbed to his injuries the next morning. The body was later sent for post-mortem.

In a related development, the state human rights commission has begun inspecting jails and police station lock-ups in the districts after reports of undertrials’ deaths in custody.

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